I recently had major surgery, and during the early days of recovery I experienced a lot of dreaming which I think was to do with the healing process. I want to briefly describe two of these dreams.
The first dream was of a goddess, sitting in the air above my hospital bed. She seemed to be sitting on a circular cushion, and her attention was on me, and also deep beneath me, where different forms were coming into being and passing away. It was her task to see or to decide whether I was to live or die, and I was reassured when her decision became clear that I should live!
The second dream was of her helpers, witches, who surrounded me. The witches were seated on floating cushions or maybe branches (I was reminded on the witches in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy). They worked alongside the nurses and doctors, and I had the strong feeling that the whilst the healthcare professionals were looking after my body, the witches were doing something deeper, at the meeting point of mind and body. Both types of work are needed for healing.
I imagine that followers of other traditions would see these figures in a different way, but I think that the reality is there – in some way we receive healing from the goddess and her helpers, or (seen in another way) from god and his angels, or (seen in another way) from the depths of our own mind.
Who is the goddess?
My thoughts at the time were that the goddess I saw could have been the Cailleach – the old woman of Scottish and Irish legend. In my recent field trips to the Cailleach’s House in Scotland, and particularly Sligo in Ireland, I got an impression of the Cailleach as a protective mother, a mistress of forms and life.